Summary: Their ENERGY, their ELECTION, their EXAMPLE, their ENTHUSIASM, and their EXPECTANCY. More than a rough draft, Paul’s first letter to any church was the final word on what a church should be. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
The Ideal Church
This is Paul’s earliest writing of at least thirteen books. But you couldn’t tell it. It may have been a first draft but that made no difference for he wasn’t the real author. That’s inspiration...perfection from the very beginning to the end. And this book is about the ideal. The ideal church, the ideal servants, the ideal discipleship, and the ideal walk.
The city had originally been call "Therma". There were hot springs there.
Alexander The Great changed it to “Thessalonica” after his half sister. Sounds like a lovely girl!
Paul’s vision of the Macedonian man brought him to Philippi. Lydia, a demon possessed girl, and the jailer were saved. Being forced out of town, Paul, Silas, & Timothy came to Thessalonica. Their ministry was primarily to slaves and working class people.
He wrote this letter to encourage and strengthen them. His theme is the ministry and service to the Lord in a local church in light of the coming of the Lord. The coming of the Lord is mentioned in every chapter of I & II Thess.
Paul knew that Prophetic truth would motivate them to practical service.
Doctrine gives direction. The word directs our walk.
Belief determines behavior. Creed leads our conduct.
There is an interesting contrast between I & II Thessalonians.
1st. Thess. 2nd Thess.
1. Coming in the air 1. Coming to the earth
2. Coming for the saints 2. Coming with the saints
3. Day of Christ 3. Day of the Lord
4. Could be today 4. Could only be 7 years from now.
Acts 17 tells of the inception of this church. Paul preached there for 3 weeks and got a church going. Unbelievers started a revolt, calling the disciples “these that have turned the world upside down” [what a testimony!]
Why are they the ideal church?
Notice the word ‘in’ back in v. 1
Jn. 15:1 "in the vine"
I Cor. 12 "in" Christ."
Col. 3:3 "w/Christ in God."
I. THEIR ENERGY. V. 3
A. Their work of faith. V. 9 proved they had been saved!
B. Their labor of love.
C. Their hope & endurance.
Faith directed toward God.
Love directed toward others.
Hope directed toward the future.
Faith draws us closer to God.
Love draws us into the world.
Hope draws us toward His coming.
Faith works. "work of faith"
Love labors. "labor of love"
Hope endures. "patience of hope"
II. THEIR ELECTION. V. 4, 5
So which is true, predestination or decision? I say both!
In God the Father’s mind you were saved before the foundation of the world.
In Jesus’ mind you were saved at Calvary.
In the Spirit’s mind you were saved when you made the decision.
God has foreknowledge of who will be saved, but we don’t, so we must seek the lost!
God chooses to save all who choose Him. God elects all those who elect to call upon Him!
III. THEIR EXAMPLE. V. 7
They followed an example of the disciples in v. 6, and then became an example. Their testimony went far and wide. We need to be examples, not just preachers.
Ill.—you can pull a rope behind you, but you can’t push it! Lead the way, give people good steps to follow in!